DMatters February 2018 Issue

Design thinking as the needle for urban acupuncture

How often does an urban infrastructure become the talk of the town? “After the deluge” conceived by local interdisciplinary designer and artist Kingsley Ng, whose “Poetic Tram Ride” also stunned the audience in last year’s “Confluence 20+” during Milan Design Week, has hit the headlines. Tai Hang Tung Stormwater Drainage Tank where this site-specific work in form of a tour, a soundwalk and an installation takes place is one of the city’s award-winning designs to unfold the story of water.

The Tai Hang Tung Storage Scheme was designed to prevent flooding in Mongkok area caused by heavy rainfall sweeping southward from Lion Rock. The storage tank beneath Tai Hang Tung Playground has a capacity equivalent to 40 Olympic swimming pools. For those who has experienced severe typhoons and subsequent floods in Hong Kong, or others who learnt from global news, one would recognise potential risks - health and safety concerns - brought by floods, landslides or transmission of communicable diseases. With this infrastructure built in the heart of Kowloon and performed its duty for over a decade, it has proved that city planning should be future-looking for the sake of people’s lives and living.

Kingsley’s project has opened up the poetic visitation of the drainage tank as well as the appreciation of design in urban development. “Jaime Lerner’s urban acupuncture is a way forward for a liveable city.” Kingsley told DMatters. Perhaps, to him, the drainage scheme is an “healed” pain point. Should we look at our city as an organism, there would be some parts where the “design thinking” needle shall be put in place to activate energy flows. Having our finger on the pulse, HKDC is curating this year's KODW around Design. City. Liveability. The workshop framework is community-oriented that targets teachers and educators, healthcare and social workers, entrepreneurs as well as public sector.

While urban design is a matter of life and death, good design is also a serious business of creativity and problem solving. In the first quarter of 2018, HKDC is taking two groups of Hong Kong emerging young design talents to design weeks respectively at Bangkok and Melbourne. By exporting Hong Kong’s good design, design talents would understand the creative economy outside Hong Kong and gain insights to develop locally. As announced by Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau weeks ago, the plan to reactivate design ecology and to include a design and fashion base at Sham Shui Po is one of the many ways to recognise design, value design, and use it strategically to create city vibe, economic and societal wellbeing. We welcome holistic and sustainable plans like this to flourish in other districts so to summon up energy and creativity all over - the vibe for a liveable city!

Click here for DMatters (February) full issue.